A New Mexico bill that would decriminalize up to an ounce of marijuana, while reducing the penalty for larger amounts, has been approved by a House committee.
The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee gave approval to Senate Bill 258 with a unanimous vote. The proposal already passed the state’s full Senate earlier this month with a 33 to 9 vote.
According to its summary; “Senate Bill 258 proposes to amend 30-31-23 NMSA 1978 to reduce the penalties for possession of marijuana.” A person convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana “would be issued a $50 penalty assessment; more than one ounce but not more than four ounces would be a petty misdemeanor [up to 15 days in jail]; more than four ounces but not more than eight would be a misdemeanor [up to a year in jail]; and more than eight ounces would be a fourth degree felony.”
Under current law possessing up to an ounce of cannabis is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail. Possessing over an ounce but less than eight ounces is a standard misdemeanor punishable by up to a full year in jail, and possessing over eight ounces is a fourth degree felony.
Click here for the full text of Senate Bill 258, which has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Passage in the Judiciary Committee will move it towards a vote in the full House, where passage will send it to Governor Susana Martinez for consideration.